Black Sheep Coming-of-age Drama Romance

MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Alone/Together’ (2019)

It’s a whole new territory for LizQuen, as they take on more mature, realistic roles in a film that’s about the dreamer in all of us. Here’s my review of Antoinette Jadaone’s ‘Alone/Together’

Many would agree that this film is about Tin and Raf’s (Enrique Gil & Liza Soberano, respectively) relationship and its shortcomings, but after watching the film, I thought otherwise. There have been many theories online when the trailer came out, and none of them even come close to what we get here. As the title suggests, we deal with these two characters separately for the majority of the film. The real focus of the film, from my perspective, is Tin’s hopes, dreams, and ambitions.

Like most of Jadaone’s films, this is a film about dreamers. That Thing Called Tadhana had Mace and Anthony dreaming of the great people they could’ve been. Love You to the Stars and Back had Mika and Caloy dreaming of the love and attention they both needed, through searching for extraterrestrial beings. Never Not Love You had Gio and Joanne dreaming of better careers for themselves, even if it meant that they would be thousands of miles apart.

Here in Alone/Together, we join Tin as she goes through the pain and frustration of not being able to reach her dreams, as she watches her former lover achieve all of his own dreams, and we also see her finally free to explore all her options at the very moment she regains her freedom. It’s quite compelling to watch on-screen, and it definitely helps that Liza Soberano gave an excellent performance in the film. I’ll talk more about that later on in this review.

For a romantic drama, the film is a bit lacking on the romance side. There’s not enough build-up of Tin and Raf’s romance, as we’re only given a few scenes at the start of the film to delve into the details of their relationship. In turn, it made the rest of the film slightly less effective in delivering the intended emotions of the story. It got both genres right, the only problem was the balance between the two. The romance was underplayed in the film, if you ask me. As some would say, to experience pain, you have to experience the love first, and in this film, we don’t get enough of the love that these two supposedly had. Then again, as I’ve said earlier, their relationship isn’t really the main focus of the film and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The film is well-acted. This is probably Liza Soberano’s best performance yet. She is very well in control of her character’s dilemmas and frustrations, and she channels them all into an effective and affecting performance. The best scenes of the film were anchored on her brilliant performance. One of these scenes (which is the most genuine, in my opinion) has got to be when Tin laid her eyes on a Van Gogh painting for the very first time in her life. Through this scene alone, you actually get to feel what her character is feeling, and you get to understand what she’s going through.

“I act like a child? I am a child! But why do I feel so old?”

That quote is from the moment Tin finally told her boyfriend how restricted and how flightless she felt for a woman of her age, who is at the prime of her life. Soberano never went to theatrics in these scenes, and she was able to effectively convey her emotions without going overboard. We’ve all seen Enrique Gil’s acting prowess, and he’s proven time and time again that he is a reliable actor. This isn’t his strongest performance in my opinion, he wasn’t able to match Soberano’s sincerity and depth, but he was still great though.

Adrian Alandy plays Tin’s new boyfriend and boss. He’s a bit one-dimensional, but the character serves his purpose right. Also, Jasmine Curtis-Smith is in this film, but not for long. She only has about 2-3 scenes in the whole film, and I feel like they wasted her talents here.

Cinematography is top-notch, and I’ve never expected less from a Jadaone film. The film looks good, and that’s not just because the lead stars of the film are some of the best looking actors in the country today. The film also benefits from its clever color grading. The scenes between the young love of Tin and Raf tend to be a tad bit too warm and saturated, and when we switch back to the present, the coldness of it all just comes through. Even the smallest details when it comes to make-up and wardrobe were meticulously executed.

Alone/Together is the Jadaone film that I felt she put the most passion in. This is the story of everyone who has ever dreamed, whether they achieved those dreams or not. Don’t go into this film expecting your usual cutesy romcom flick, this is very far from that. It’s not a perfect film, but in this case, that’s a good thing.

My Rating: 8/10

Here’s the full trailer for ‘Alone/Together’:

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